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CHAPTER 4
SITTINGS OF THE ASSEMBLY

Part 1: General

Forums for public proceedings

  1. Subject to the Constitution and to these Rules and practice, proceedings are conducted in public

    (a)        at meetings of this House;
    (b)       in extended public committees of this House; and
    (c)        in appropriation committees of this House.

Sitting days and hours of sitting

  1. (1)        Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays shall be Parliamentary working days.

    (2)        The business of this House may be considered by it on these days, and the hours of sitting on these days shall be as follows:

                            Mondays to Thursdays:
                            14:00, or such later time as the Speaker determines, to adjournment
                           
                            Fridays:09:00,
                            or such later time as the Speaker determines, to adjournment.

    [Rule 23(2) substituted, 8 February 2000]           

    (3)  On Wednesdays before the Easter recess the business of committees shall be considered by them between 09:00 and 12:45 and between 14:15 and 16:30, unless special circumstances require otherwise.

    (4)  New Year's Day, Human Rights Day, Good Friday, Family Day, Freedom Day, Workers' Day, Youth Day, National Women's Day, Heritage Day, the Day of Reconciliation, Christmas Day and the Day of Goodwill shall not be sitting days of this House or any committee: Provided that, if any of these days falls on a Sunday, this House or any committee shall not sit on the following Monday.
           

    [NOTE: This Rule will need to be reviewed in view of the definition of “working day” in Chapter 1.]

Change of venue

  1. Before directing under section 51(3) of the Constitution that this House shall sit at a place other than the Houses of Parliament in Cape Town, the Speaker shall consult the Leader of the House and the Chief Whip of each party represented in this House.



Part 2: Sittings in plenary

Quorum


  1. (1)  The Assembly may proceed with its business irrespective of the number of members present, but may vote on a Bill or decide on any question only if a quorum is present in terms of subrule (2).


    (2)        <!--[endif]--> Except where the Constitution provides otherwise-
    (a)        a majority of the members of the National Assembly must be present before a vote may be taken on a Bill or an amendment to a Bill;
    (b)        at least one third of the members must be present before a vote may be taken on any other question before the Assembly.

    [Rule 25 substituted, September 2002]

Absence of quorum

  1. If the attention of the presiding officer is called to the absence of the prescribed quorum when a question is put for decision and if after an interval of five minutes, during which time the bells must be rung, there is still no quorum, the presiding officer may suspend the proceedings or postpone the decision of the question.

    [Rule 26 substituted, September 2002]

    [Rule 27 deleted, September 2002]


Opportunity for prayer or meditation

  1. At the commencement of Parliamentary business on every sitting day the presiding officer shall afford members an opportunity for silent prayer or meditation.

Sequence of proceedings

  1. Subject to the provisions of the Constitution and these Rules, and unless altered by resolution of this House, the business on each sitting day of this House, shall, where applicable, follow the following sequence of events:

    (1) Opportunity for silent prayer or meditation;
    (2) announcements from the Chair;
    (3) notices of motion;
    (4) formal motions;
    (5) opportunity for statements by members;
    (6) opportunity for statements and personal explanations by Cabinet members;
    (7) petitions;
    (8) Orders of the Day and notices of motion on the Order Paper, which shall be dealt with in sequence: Provided that precedence shall be given to questions and interpellations on Question Days.

Interruption, suspension or adjournment of proceedings


  1. (1) The proceedings of this House or a committee of this House shall be interrupted, suspended or adjourned by the presiding officer.
    (2) The presiding officer may in consultation with the Leader of this House adjourn this House until a later Parliamentary working day than the following sitting day: Provided that during such adjournment the Speaker may accelerate or
    postpone the date for the resumption of business.

    [NOTE: For application of reference to “Leader of this House”, see Rule 222 and section 91(4) of the Constitution].



Part 3: Extended public committees

Business of extended public committee

  1. Any bill or any provision of a bill may be discussed in an extended public committee.

Members

  1. An extended public committee in respect of a bill or any provision of a bill shall consist of the members of the portfolio committee under which the bill or provision falls, and all other members of this House who attend the proceedings of the extended public committee [see Rule 201(1)].

Chairperson of extended public committee

  1. The Speaker shall appoint the chairperson of an extended public committee from the ranks of the elected presiding officers of this House.

Relief of chairperson

  1. A member of an extended public committee shall take the Chair whenever requested to do so by the chairperson of the committee.



Part 4: Appropriation committees

Referral of business to appropriation committee

  1. This House may by resolution refer —

    (a)          a vote in the schedule to an appropriation bill which appears on the Order Paper for consideration; or
    (b)          a provision of a taxation bill which appears on the Order Paper for consideration, to an appropriation committee of this House for discussion.

Members

  1. An appropriation committee of this House shall consist of the members of the portfolio committee under which the subject of the vote or taxation provision referred to the appropriation committee falls, or the members of a committee specified in the resolution of referral, and all other members of this House who attend the proceedings of the appropriation committee.

Chairperson

  1. The Chair of an appropriation committee may be taken by a House Chairperson or a member appointed by the Speaker for that purpose.

    [Rule 37 amended, 2 November 2006]

Relief of chairperson

  1. Any member of an appropriation committee may take the Chair whenever requested to do so by the chairperson of the committee during a sitting of the committee.

Sitting days and times of meeting

  1. The days on which and times at which an appropriation committee shall meet, shall be determined by the Leader of this House.          

    [NOTE: For application of reference to “Leader of the House”, see Rule 222 and section 91(4) of the Constitution.]



Part 5: Public access

Admittance of strangers

  1. The power to admit strangers to the precincts of this House or an extended public committee or an appropriation committee of this House, and the places set apart for them in a Chamber, shall vest in the Speaker, subject to the provisions of the Constitution.

Withdrawal of strangers

  1. The presiding officer may, whenever he or she thinks fit, order strangers to withdraw.

Serjeant-at-Arms to remove strangers

  1. Subject to the provisions of Rule 43, the Serjeant-at-Arms shall remove, or cause to be removed, any stranger from any part of a Chamber which has been set apart for members only, and also any stranger who, having been admitted into any other part of the Chamber, misconducts himself or herself or does not withdraw when strangers are ordered to withdraw.

Visiting Heads of State

  1. The Speaker, acting after consultation with the Leader of the House, may invite any Head of State who is on a State visit to the Republic, to address this House.

 


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